According to National Eye Institute, 5 million Americans will be suffering from low vision by 2030, with 2.2 million expected to be afflicted with blindness, just to give you an idea of how severe eye problems are becoming in the U.S.
Fine details of the reactions of people being diagnosed with vision loss might vary to a certain degree, but the overall sentiment remains almost the same, acute deprivation and frustration, to say the least.
What’s even more important to understand, however, is that such an emotional outburst is all but natural, a part of the process, a period of adjustment, which shall lead you to adapting to the changes introduced in your life due to vision loss rather than quitting on your ambitions and aspirations of life.
Let’s have a look at some of the most common feelings majority of people encounter with after being diagnosed with vision loss.
Disbelief and Dissent
Whether vision loss gets to you totally out of the blue or your sight succumbs to it gradually, shock and disbelief turns out to be one of the first reactions for most, sometimes coercing you to act like there’s no significant change in your life.
Dissent can also set in for you, compelling you to believe that the eye doctor might have made a mistake diagnosing your eye problems. This can serve you some good as well, having a second opinion and looking for some alternative treatment and more information on the subject can be quite helpful in the long run.
On the flipside, this can also lead you in frantically seeking for more opinions and diagnosis, even sometimes falling victim to pursuance of some kind of ‘miracle care’, which is more likely to worsen your eye problems rather than solving them.
Sometimes, your mind resorts to denial tactics like these in a bid to buy you some time to get accustomed to such an impactful experience in your life. This phase is supposed to pass soon as you come across new ways of adjusting to your situation.
Rage and Squabble
Staying mostly enraged and getting annoyed with people you interact with, is also part of the process, especially the ones associated with some official service providers, which might be justifiable sometimes. For instance, if you suffered from vision loss due to some injury inflicted by a service provider or inadequate medical services.
Though anger can be considered as a natural response in embracing unwelcoming changes, constant rage and fury can lead you into negative state of mind, always thinking ‘why me?’.
What you should do instead is channelize the force of this anger, focusing your energy on exploring and exploiting ways of changing, rather improving your circumstances, so you can move ahead.
Vulnerability and Anxiety
On your way to exploring your chances of betterment through facing the ordeal of sight loss, you can also get exposed to the feelings of fear, vulnerability and anxiety while coming to terms with what now lies beyond your power of changing.
Some of the most common fears include getting worried about income and your dependability on others to perform even trivial daily life tasks. Feeling handicapped in doing things others can do around you effortlessly can push you towards embarrassment as well as anxiety.
To cope with such circumstances, you better focus on acquiring new skills and improving your confidence level. But if you feel anxiety and panic overwhelming you, seeking professional counseling is the best way to go about it.
Anguish and Depression
When you get cocooned in the sadness of your loss for a long time, depression becomes quite an inevitable outcome. However, if this anguish and depression prolongs to weeks and months, it’s about time for you to resort to professional help, especially if you are drawn towards the thoughts of harming yourself.
How Long Can It Take Coming to Terms with Vision Loss?
Giving an exact time-frame is not easy in this case, as every individual reacts differently to this predicament. It can be anywhere from a few weeks to few months, but the intensity of the loss lessens one way or the other with the passage of time and you end up learning to adjust with the changes this sort of challenge can bring into your life.
Can You Do Anything About Permanent Vision Loss?
Age related eye diseases like macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy can result in formation of blind spots (also referred as scotomas) leading to permanent vision loss, particularly in seniors.
However, there is no point wasting your life sheer anguish and depression for something that’s no more within your control. Instead, focus on alternative means and resources to make the best of the vision you are left with.
Different types of low vision aids are available nowadays in the market, aimed at helping people with permanent vision loss in living their life to its maximum and overcoming challenges of daily life.
Some popular vision-assisting devices include:
- Powerful magnifying lenses offering higher degree of illumination assistive in reading or performing other near-vision activities
- Specially designed screens for viewing television, computers and laptops
- Specially designed glare-reducing filters and shields
- Moreover, some recently developed high-tech low vision aids, such as IrisVision are also available that offer remarkable assistance in performing a whole range of daily chores to people suffering from different kinds of visual impairments.
Coping with Vision Loss – Some Simple but Effective Tips
Unfortunately, a misconception prevails at large, that people suffering from permanent vision loss cannot engage actively in a fulfilling life. You can, but with some extra precautions, aided with appropriate assistance for visually impaired to make sure that you are able to see while remaining safe and sound in your surroundings.
So, here is a list of some simple but effective tips that can be extremely helpful for you in living a meaningful life even after being a victim of vision loss.
- You can seek out assistance from various organizations that offer specialized services for people suffering from low vision where a trained person visits your home to evaluate your living conditions and surroundings to identify and cater to any unnecessary hazards capable of causing some injury or harm to someone suffering from sight loss. For instance, your old furniture placement might be unsuitable to you with low vision conditions, impeding walkways between rooms and your stairwells becoming unsafe for you.
- A part of such evaluations from professionals is also a thorough assessment of your existing lighting fixtures in and around your living area. This often results in augmentation of overhead lighting by increasing the number and brightness of the lighting fixtures, offering a significant improvement in safety, security and peace of mind for sight loss victims.
- Low vision specialists are also trained to evaluate whether low vision aids like specialized magnifiers, books with large print, labels, playing cards, etc., will suffice for a sight loss patient or not. If not, they can advise you with the best line of action to follow.
- Incorporating routine eye exam in your routine can also be great, ensuring that you are using the best vision correction for your eyes. It is very important to keep track of the rate of progression or regression of your eye problem, so that you can be advised with best possible solution within due time.
- Peer support is yet another way of making life easier for vision loss victims. There are plenty of organizations nowadays offering such support systems all through the country. Seeking out for one within your community will prove beneficial for you in meeting likeminded people, building new friendships and opportunities of sharing your experiences with people who will value and appreciate your input.
- Most importantly, you will get to know that you are not alone in your struggle to reemerge strongly from the affliction of vision loss, and your chances of learning new ways and ideas of living independently and successfully despite vision impairment will increase significantly.